Dan Fleser: Stumbling Lady Vols On Brink Of Missing NCAA Field Of 64

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - by Dan Fleser

Charlie Crème projects NCAA women’s tournament brackets for ESPN and Tennessee always has been among the 64 teams in the field – until Monday.

In Crème’s latest projection, he had the Lady Vols as the first team out. The determination reflected UT’s 15-8 record (4-6 in the SEC) and its RPI of 61. The latest installment was a 91-63 loss at Mississippi State on Sunday.

The Lady Vols, who have made every NCAA tournament field, were on the brink three years ago, when four losses in February sent them into free fall. But they never slipped from Crème’s projections. A solid finish ultimately kept them in the tournament field as well.

“It was a hot topic for two weeks,” Crème said. “They got close (to falling out) but it never got that close.

“It never got this dire you could say. They’re definitely in a more tenuous situation now.”

Tennessee’s status is impacted by what’s occurring in other conferences. For example, Missouri State (14-7, RPI 63), which is coached by former Lady Vols point guard Kellie Harper, is in first place in the Missouri Valley Conference by virtue of an 85-79 victory over Drake on Feb. 1. Crème currently projects both teams to be among the 64 tournament teams.

Crème also has three Mid-American Conference teams - Central Michigan, Buffalo and Ohio – in his latest field.

Future results could alter those projections and open a spot or two in the field.

Furthermore, the Lady Vols’ remaining regular season schedule allows for more control of their destiny with four games against teams (Auburn, Missouri, Texas A&M and South Carolina) Crème projects to make the tournament.

“They have more opportunity than most in that position,” Crème said of the Lady Vols.

 UT’s game against Auburn Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena previews as a tournament play-in game for the time being. Auburn this week is among Crème’s final four teams in the field.

Tennessee won at Auburn 78-69 on Jan. 3.

Here’s how Tennessee has fared against the other three aforementioned SEC teams:

Missouri: A 66-64 loss to the Tigers in Knoxville on Jan. 6 was the beginning of a six-game losing streak. The Lady Vols, who play in Columbia, Mo., on Sunday, have lost their last two games against Missouri and all-SEC guard Sophie Cunningham. The total margin has been six points.

Texas A&M: The Aggies, who are led by all-SEC guard Chennedy Carter, are more balanced offensively than earlier in the season. The Lady Vols have split their last two meetings in the series. They’ll return to College Station, Texas, on Feb. 21, where they’ve lost in overtime on their last two visits.

South Carolina: The NCAA Division I women’s basketball committee’s initial reveal of the top 16 seeds on Monday had the Gamecocks as a No. 3 seed in Greensboro, N.C. They’ll visit Knoxville on Feb. 24.

With former star A’ja Wilson having graduated, South Carolina has evolved into a more guard-oriented team. Wilson missed two games against Tennessee last season because of injury and UT won both games.

* * *

Dan Fleser is a 1980 graduate of the University of Missouri who covered University of Tennessee athletics for the Knoxville News Sentinel from 1988-2019. He can be reached at danfleser3@gmail.com 


 


Chattanooga Area Swim League

Boyd's Speedway Resumes Saturday Night After A Month Of Non-Racing

Mocs Football Schedule Rated No. 2 By HeroSports.com


CHATTANOOGA AREA SWIM LEAGUE STANDINGS BLUE DIVISION Ooltewah 4 0 Signal Mountain 3 1 Stuart Heights 2 1 Dalton 1 3 Catoosa 0 5 ... (click for more)

Racing picks up after four weeks of non-racing action at the Tennessee/Georgia state-line dirt oval, this Saturday night according to the tracks official website. Super/Limited Late Models ... (click for more)

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team’s 2019 strength of schedule is ranked No. 2 in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), according to HeroSports.com. Written ... (click for more)


Sports

Chattanooga Area Swim League

CHATTANOOGA AREA SWIM LEAGUE STANDINGS BLUE DIVISION Ooltewah 4 0 Signal Mountain 3 1 Stuart Heights 2 1 Dalton 1 3 Catoosa 0 5 RED DIVISION Fairyland 4 1 Calhoun 3 1 Country Club 3 2 Red Bank 1 3 Cleveland 0 4 WHITE DIVISION Waterdogs ... (click for more)

Boyd's Speedway Resumes Saturday Night After A Month Of Non-Racing

Racing picks up after four weeks of non-racing action at the Tennessee/Georgia state-line dirt oval, this Saturday night according to the tracks official website. Super/Limited Late Models top the card Saturday night starting at 7 p.m. Tullahoma, Tn.'s Justin Litchford (and the LitchMob) lead the 2019 Track Championship points with three wins out of the seven races so far ... (click for more)

Breaking News

City Council Expanding Some Territory For Short Term Vacation Rentals; Approves No-Tax-Increase Budget

City Council members are eyeing changes in the popular short term vacation rental business, including some likely expansion of district boundaries. Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod said one change she is seeking soon is to allow the rentals on the opposite side of Pinewood Lane. She also said at one section of Eastdale there are four residents interested in setting up the rentals. ... (click for more)

Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod Says Black People "Can Come Downtown"; Says BID Has Nothing About "Black Removal"

City Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod said Tuesday she is tired of some individuals saying that creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) means black people can't come downtown. She said, "I'm tired of the fact that the plight of black people is being used when it comes to those type conversations." She said, "We can come downtown. There are black people walking downtown ... (click for more)

Opinion

Why I Support Funding The Proposed Budget - And Response

Dear Commissioners of Hamilton County, I attended the District 3 community meeting with Commissioner Greg Martin and School Board Chairman Joe Wingate, who was filling in for District 3 Rep. Joe Smith. Commissioner Martin stated he had not made up his mind on how to vote for the tax increase at that time. He requested thoughtful input on why the citizens of his district wanted ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: VW Needs Big Repairs

The banner headline on Monday morning read, “Gov. Lee, top Republicans celebrate failed UAW bid to unionize Volkswagen,” and that’s the second-worst thing that the headline could have said. The worst, of course, is if the UAW had won, and the Detroit-based union that lost 35,000 members last year would be revived -- breaking a hole into the tight wall of foreign-owned auto assembly ... (click for more)